We hold these truths to be self-evident: Garfield loves lasagna and hates Mondays.
But what isn't certain is whether the cynical cat who has been a childhood favorite for decades is male, female or neither. This gender identity crisis has gotten so heated that someone in Congress has even entered the war.
The Twitter account @congress-edits documents Wikipedia revisions that come from a Congress IP address. Apparently, someone in the U.S. House of Representatives has recently edited the Garfield Wikipedia article and removed Garfield from the category of male comic characters. The anonymous person noted, "Garfield does not have a gender" and "should not be in the male comic characters category."
This Wikipedia edit war stems from a comment Jim Davis, Garfield's creator, made two years ago. In an interview with Mental Floss, Davis said, "Garfield is very universal. By virtue of being a cat, really, he’s not really male or female or any particular race or nationality, young or old. It gives me a lot more latitude for the humor for the situations."
For the most part, all was good until last week when satirist Virgil Texas invented a Wikipedia Editor named David "The Milk" Milkberg and edited Garfield's gender to read "none" instead of "male."
Before you know it, a Wikipedia editor reverted the gender. Almost immediately someone in the Philippines removed the gender again. And on it went in an almost three-day editing war until Wikipedia had to put Garfield's page on lockdown. (Ugh, I'm never getting a cat after this.)
A writer for the conservative site Heat Street criticized the "social justice cabal" for turning Garfield into a "genderless, progressive blob" and "gender fluid abomination."
Twitter users also wanted their say.
In a separate Wikipedia page, users were hashing it out. One editor went on to boldly state, "Throughout the strip, every character (including Garfield himself!) constantly refers to Garfield unambiguously as male, and always using male pronouns," and listed a slew of comics to prove the point.
Wikipedia ended up going with this option and listed Garfield's gender as "male" with references to several strips where the owner Jon calls him a "boy" several times and Garfield refers to himself as a "bad boy."
The Washington Post put an end to the debate.
“Garfield is male,” Davis told a reporter on Tuesday. “He has a girlfriend, Arlene.”
But then again ...